Hi Guys! Shanley here, the Marketing Director for Foodtography School! Today I’m here to talk to you about PRODUCTIVITY. As Foodtography School and Broma Bakery grow I’ve been feeling like I need to be as productive as humanly possible so that I’m not spending 70+ hours a week in front of a screen. Throughout the last month I’ve been researching and testing productivity hacks to make the most of my days. And guess what, I’m sharing all my tried and true tips with YOU!
1. Work in blocks
I’ve found that working in blocks has hands down been the biggest time saver for me. You’re probably like, yeah I’ve heard of it but like why? Well, here, I’ll explain…On Sunday night I look at my week as a whole and map out what projects need to get done, then I ballpark how long each task is going to take. For example, this past week I had: answer emails (every day 2 hours), social posts (every day 2 hours), a client photoshoot (4 hours), a restaurant opening to cover (2 hours), dinner date with a coworker (2 hours), 3 client meetings (1 hour each), and a blog to write (4 hours).
I take this list and schedule them into my calendar, then my whole week is mapped out. I also block off downtime for myself, whether that’s yoga at 7am or an at-home movie date with my boyfriend at 7pm. During the block of time allotted for each task, I don’t let anything distract me; if a client calls, I send them to voicemail; if I get a text from a friend, I table it until I’m done with said task. PEOPLE CAN WAIT and the world won’t end 😉
At the beginning of each task I look at how much time I have to accomplish it and pay careful attention to the clock as I’m completing it. If I get done early, I reward myself with additional downtime. I take my dog on a walk, I check my personal Instagram, or close my eyes for 20 minutes and sit in stillness. If I go over my time for that task, I make a note of it in my calendar by scheduling additional time later on in the week to complete it.
Working in blocks is particularly helpful for me, as it allows my brain to really zero in on what I have to accomplish. Without working in blocks, I find my thinking all over the place and I get easily distracted.
2. Declutter your workspace, declutter your brain
I’m a visual person, so having a clean workspace is absolutely essential to being in the right headspace. Every morning for the last month, I have gotten up 20 minutes early to tidy up before starting work. I’ve found that only having my computer and a plant on my desk actually frees my mental space to just THINK. I have also moved my desk to look out the window. There’s something so calming about nature and ‘ish.
3. Do away with notifications
…or better yet, put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ during the workday. This was probably the hack for me that took the most time getting used to but honestly, not having your phone light up every other minute keeps you focused on the task at hand. And guess what? Everything is totally fine if your phone goes unanswered for an hour or two!
4. Take on smaller tasks first
Since I always seem to have a to-do list that’s 3 feet long, crossing tasks off my to-do list is, like, MY FAVORITE THING EVER. I prioritize my tasks by how long each one is going to take as well as the urgency of each task. I’ve found that getting my smaller tasks done first thing in the morning (like answering emails and banging out social posts) helps me feel accomplished earlier on in the day. It also makes my to-do list so much less daunting, and because of it, my day goes a lot smoother.
5. Get work done in the early am
Working without distractions is REAL. Along with silencing my cell re: productivity hack #3, I’ve started sitting down at my computer at 7am most workdays. The world seems to still be asleep, which means you have approximately 2 hours to crush work until you start getting blown up by Instagram notifications, texts, calls, and more emails. Not an early riser? Try going to bed a couple hours early and once your alarm goes off in the morning getting up right away. The first 5 minutes are the hardest, but I find it’s usually smooth sailing from there on out!
Being productive can be hard at first, just like any new thing you add into your routine. But in time, it will become habitual, and you’ll find that being mindful about the way you spend your time will lead you to create better work, and give you more time to do the things you really love, like hanging out with loved ones 🙂 Now go and be productive AF!